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Howard Hanson's 'Work' on Alien

Familiar with Alien director Ridley Scott and his editor, Terry Rawlings, replacing some of Jerry Goldsmith's score to Alien, with the end of Symphony #2: Romantic by Howard Hanson? It's when Ripley blows the creature out the shuttle airlock and it finally succumbs to the intense heat of the engines and is released into the void of space. The music segues from Goldsmith's brilliant music to the equally brilliant but slightly different music of Hanson. This piece is repeated again, after Ripley goes back into hypersleep and the end credits roll.

If so, I'm curious how Scott and Rawlings came upon the piece. Were they classical music afficionados, thought it had the perfect feel, and dug it up out of their private collections to use as a "temp" track, which ended up being the final track? Or did this decision happen very, very late in post, in response to studio pressure?

I picked up the Hanson CD from Amazon. This piece, at the end of track 4, is beautiful, is indeed romantic, and is more life-affirming, after Ripley's ordeal with the deadly creature, than the more down-beat cue Goldsmith composed, which I also like, but can see why Hanson's "brighter" cue was used, to end the movie on a "high" note (we humans won against the alien!).

Two other parts of Goldsmith's Alien score were also replaced, with two pieces from his earlier score to the 1962 John Huston film Freud, specifically when Ash makes an incision in one of the fingers of the face-hugger attached to Kane's face and it bleeds acid, which eats through several decks, and when Dallas is venturing through the air vent armed only with a flamethrower, and is ultimately nabbed by the creature.


It may have been a decision to have Hansen's heirs get some money from its use in the film. Though Hansen didn't give his approval and could have fought the copyright infraction he probably cashed the check quickly.


Hanson's Symphony No. 2 is probably the most popular of his compositions, and I'm pretty sure it was used as a temp track for those scenes, and Scott decided to leave it in.

(The last movement of the same symphony seems to have been a temp track for the "Adventure on Earth" cue of John Williams's "E. T." score as well...)

I also think Scott made the right decision there. When we THINK Ripley has got rid of the Alien, the music still continues in Goldsmith's vein, so in hindsight we know it's still there. Then, after she finally blasts it away, Hanson's music comes in as a kind of "liberation". Goldsmith was (in)famous for ignoring temp tracks, and Scott probably wanted a bright, liberating cue for the final scene, so he left the temp music in when Goldsmith didn't deliver what he wanted. (I do not approve, however, of Scott's other decisions regarding cutting up and replacing Goldsmith's score with other cues (even from other movies)...

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